On Saturday night, there were two similar plays that involved goaltender collisions that were expected to receive the attention of league disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan. Earlier in the day, we learned that Nashville forward Jordin Tootoo would receive a two-game unpaid vacation for running over Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller. On the other hand, Shanahan ruled that Vancouver forward David Booth would not be suspended for plowing over Calgary netminder Miikka Kiprusoff.
Even though the plays were similar in nature, Shanahan believed that there were significant differences that warranted a suspension for Tootoo and prevented Booth from any supplementary discipline.
“On the Booth play, he’s got the puck longer and the Calgary defenceman is right on his back and leaning on him right into the collision,” Shanahan told the Calgary Sun’s Eric Francis. “Just before impact, Booth turns his skates and is blowing snow and is trying to stop. At no point is Tootoo trying to stop. He argued that he was trying to jump. Whether it was intentional to hurt Miller or get out of the way — either way, it was the wrong decision. It made the collision worse.”
“I think with Booth he has less options because the player is leaning on his back right into the goalie.”
Bottom line: Tootoo was given a two-game suspension because Shanahan ruled that he never tried to avoid contact. Since Booth was trying to stop (and still made contact), he escaped the Shanahammer. Of course, if you put both of these plays against the Lucic hit that sidelined Ryan Miller for a few weeks with a concussion (or whiplash), it gets increasingly difficult to find consistency. Then again, we were warned it would be this way.
It wasn’t surprising that Tootoo was suspended with the cast of characters involved and the public outcry afterwards (as well as the comments of Lindy Ruff). There was no way that Miller was going to get run over in his first game back without any response from the league. But the Booth situation proved that players can still crash the net without being suspended. In the long-run, just about every skater and coach would agree that it’s the way hockey needs to be played. Goaltenders may not be so quick to agree.
What do you think fair hockey fans? Do you buy Shanahan’s explanation for suspending Jordin Tootoo while letting David Booth walk away without punishment? Let us know in the comments…